In 1991, Japanese arcade giant Banpresto piled together three of their licenses for a simple Game Boy strategy RPG. The game, titled Super Robot Wars
, featured characters from the Go Nagai classics Mazinger Z
and Getter Robo
, as well as Yoshiyuki Tomino's Mobile Suit Gundam.
While lacking an actual story and quality graphics, the game became a major hit and Banpresto has been making them for every major console (and some of the less major, halo thar Wonderswan) since, refining the gameplay, graphics, and storyline each time. New series are added with each incarnation as well, with some of them staying long after their first appearence (Gundam Wing) and in some cases even getting a "sequel" story of sorts.
So, this is like Fire Emblem or something?
Sort of. The SRW games work more or less the same from incarnation to incarnation. Stages open with a title screen and go to dialouge between characters setting up the current stage, whether it's idle chatter interrupted by an enemy attack, stratgey planning between the major figures in the game, or even a brief vacation sequence (rare is the SRW lacking a trip to the beach). When the enemy attacks, you're taking to a deployment screen where you choose the units and pilots to sortie against the attacking forces. Using Stat-altering abilities
, terrain, and good ol' fashioned fisticuffs, you must defeat the enemy and achieve an objective or two (some of them hard to read, cause, you know, the games are all in Japanese). Afterwards you've got more dialogue in the aftermath, and then an Intermission Screen which allows you to tune up units, switch pilots around, equip items, and in some games buy abilities for your pilots and play puzzle-based mini-missions for items and profit.
And all that's in Japanese? Holy shit.
It's not as daunting as it sounds. Many FAQs are available online to help, the menus in both combat and Intermissions rarely change much from game to game, and a few of them even have translation patches either out or in the works. Plus there's the matter of Atlus releasing the Original Generation GBA games recently, both of them being fantastic and worth your hard earned funbucks.
Get to postin'!